Friday, December 09, 2005

More WTC Site Testing?

Two New York politicians, Senator Hillary Clinton and Congressman Jerrold Nadler, want to see more testing at the site of the former World Trade Center.

Clinton and Nadler maintain the Environmental Protection Agency should conduct much more extensive testing work. The EPA's inspector general found fault with the first round of such testing, prompting a technical review and a second round of testing announced last month.

The lawmakers said Friday that a second investigation is needed to determine if the EPA is repeating mistakes made the first time.

Clinton said the EPA's new testing plan "is incredibly frustrating and disappointing" because it does not expand the area first tested, or test in workplaces or sites the agency has already cleaned.

It seems a little late for this, doesn't it? The time when testing really needed to be done was in 2001, after the towers collapsed and the powder of pulverized steel, concrete, and other materials still hung in the air. We know that the political appointees of the EPA at that time failed to test properly and erroneously assured the public that the air was safe. (It was not Christie Whitman's finest hour.) But at this point the damage has been done, to the workers who cleaned up the site and to nearby residents and employees. I suppose more testing would not hurt, but it is unclear whether it would help, four years after the event.

Most likely this represents an attempt by Clinton and Nadler to remind their constituents that the administration failed to ensure their safety at that time, and to suggest that the same would happen again under similar circumstances.